HAIKU, The Classic Tradition Of

from An Anthology by 7
Dover Thrift Editions 6
edited by Faubion Bowers 9

among the lowborn too
must be some who spend their time
in tranquility

however low one may be
it is in holding oneself in sway
that is imperative

passing through the world
indeed this is just
a shelter from the shower

everything that was
has vanished from this aged heart
leaving not a trace

O Moon! if we
should put a handle on you,
what a fan you’d be!

hands to the floor
offering up a song
the frog…

a fallen blosson
returning to the bough, I thought…
but no, a butterfly

green willows
paint eyebrows on the face
of the cliff

for all alike
the cause of noontime napping
is the summer moon

While a shot of sake passes the throat, the moon appears.

…is like a butterfly.
Whatever that is.

…is my mind elsewhere
or has it simply not sung?
wild cuckoo bird

villages may lack
flowers and ocean
but they all have tonights moon

have gazed at it now
for two years too long
a moon of my floating world

On dead branches crows twitch, perched at autumn dusk.

frog pond…
a leaf falls in
without a sound

the waters fade
and the wild ducks’ cries
are faintly white

Do the yellow rose petals tremble and fall at the rapid’s roar?

sleeping at noon
a body of a blue heron
poised in nobility

How still it is!
Stinging into the stones,
The locuts’ trill.

Quietness of the cicada’s voice seeping into the rocks.

Islands, shattered into thousands of pieces in the summer sea.

clouds now and again
give a soul some relax from
moon gazing — behold

Amoung these graffiti is the name of someone I love!

Amoung the graffiti
The name of
Beloved you.


the moon is clear
we escort a lovely boy
frightened by a fox

Will you turn toward me? I am lonely too, autumn evening.

A clam separates lid from flesh as autumn departs.

Along this way
No travelers
Dusk in autumn

Fallen sick on a trip
Dreams run wildly
Through my head

the tree frogs
rides on a banana leaf
how it sways

At a grass hut I eat smartweed, I’m that kind of firefly.

Behold! violets bloom within the fence of the forbidden ground.

On a snowy evening, how many umbrellas went by?

O, insect! — think you that
Karma can be exhausted by song?

“It’s my snow,” I think.
And the weight on my hat lightens.

I regret picking
and not picking

the autumn wind
blowing across
peoples’ faces

a warm day
but there’s a chill
in the winter sun

The cherry by the well is dangerous for one drunken on wine.

Even after waking
From the dream
I’ll see the colors of irises

I forgot my lips are dry, at the clear water.

moon flowers!
when a woman’s skin
is revealed

the frog observes
the clouds

The autumn wind responds to the mountain temple bell.

Dear butterfly, what are the dreams that make wings flutter?

I sleep… I wake…
How wide
The bed with none beside.

Wonder prayers of flowers opening and birds singing!

struck by a
raindrop, snail
closes up

a gust of wind
and the waterbirds
become white

overcome by this cold falling rain
how very similar, my life
to my old friends

For the cuckoo I wait here in the capital beneath the vain skies of hoping.

Zen never daydreams.

When opening the flower blossom shoots forth a rainbow.

Eastward the moon
Westward the sun

a flying squirrel sits chewing on a bird withered field

All the rains of June
And one evening, secretly
Though the pines, the moon

In spirit and in truth
silent prayer . . . just
the moon on the road

Let’s all adore
in the same well of clouds
this one moon

Oh won’t some orphan sparrow come and play with me.

Once more in vain the stepchild bird opens its beak.

Don’t get alarmed, you corner spiders. I won’t touch your webs.

Ah, the sad expression in the eyes of that caged bird envying the butterfly!

Here today you are Japanese geese! Rest in peace.

Why did the pink break?
Oh! why did it break…

After all, after all
I commend myself and mine to you
Now at the years end

to a pursuer
the firefly gives a look
at its light

the wild geese yet
are content to stay
and you must return

when the mosquito net is put up
the mosquitos look lovely
flying about in moonbeams

Lo! the baby opens its mouth even when it is shown a flower.

the grass cut
dawn breaks early
at my little window

spring rain
browsing under my umbrella
at the picture book store

Men are disgusting.
They argue over
The price of orchids.

Coming out to close the gate I end up listening to frogs.

I’m trying to sleep
Go easy
When you swat flies

a moonflower fell
midnight sound

again and again
I ask how high
the snow is

presence; weather update.

how much longer
is my life?
a brief night… lucid dream